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Shin-ichiro Ikebe - Orchestral Works 2

Release Date: 03/04/2008 
Label:  Camerata Records   Catalog #: 28121   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Shin-Ichiro Ikebe
Performer:  Dogen KinowakiHideo KikuchiFumiko KaiNoriko Miyamoto,   ... 
Conductor:  Ryusuke NumajiriNorio SatoNorichika IimoriMasahiro Izaki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Japan Philharmonic OrchestraEnsemble NomadIzumi Sinfonietta Osaka,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

IKEBE Tanada I. 1 Tanada II. 2 _Falling Particles of . . . 3 Bassoon Concerto. 4 The Chronicle of 3776 Meters 5 Ryusuke Numajiri, cond; 1,4 Norio Sato, cond; 2 Norichika Iimori, cond; Read more class="SUPER12">3 Masahiro Izaki, cond; 5 cond; Kazusa Mizutani (bn); 4 Japan PO; 1,4 Ens Nomad; 2 Izumi Sinfonietta Osaka; 3 Tokyo SO 5 CAMERATA 28121 (65:38)

In years past, Steve Ellis was a fervent advocate for the music of Shin-Ichiro Ikebe in these pages, especially the symphonies composed between 1967 and 1993, which he characterized as “exuberant, well argued, dramatic, and acceptably athematic” ( Fanfare 18:4). Alas, this program of recent (2003–05) compositions lacks many of the attributes that Steve found so engaging. Perhaps Ikebe’s style has changed—constricted—over time, or perhaps these tone poems do not inspire the same kind of formal logic that Ikebe deemed necessary in his symphonies. Certainly, color remains at the center of his sound world, and shifting, often-glittering orchestral sonorities provoke the music’s eventual momentum. But, to my ears, it doesn’t go anywhere of compelling interest.

In his program notes, Ikebe talks about his concept of “sound physiology” that influences the shape and details of his compositions via the “independent movement of sound,” and differentiates between the “embodiment” and “depiction” of images, real or imagined, which motivate his compositional process. The two distinct Tanada works, one for orchestra and one for six instruments (flute, clarinet, viola, cello, piano, and percussion), for example, are his response to an artwork that symbolized the step-like fields of rice paddies. In Tanada I , high sounds—trilling winds, an insistent, chiming piano, and lush string harmonics—gradually coalesce into unpredictable patterns as if in search of a melody, which finally appears and unifies the music in its concluding moments. The main thrust of Tanada II is a sequence of brisk, lilting, repeated, short, mostly descending, step-like motifs that generate unrelenting motion but no ultimate progress.

“I sensed the presence of something like particles showering down in the space around me, so I decided to scoop them up.” This is how Ikebe describes the sprinkling of high wind notes, with sparkling metallic percussion and swooping strings, that opens Falling Particles of . . .. As modal melodies emerge from the fray, layers of colorful details pile up, some reminiscent of traditional Japanese folk sources. Likewise, The Chronicle of 3776 Meters was inspired by an imaginative “embodiment” of Mt. Fuji (3,776 meters high), suggesting a processional winding its way up the mountain through craggy paths and desolate peaks, while contemplating its grandeur and imposing presence. But here, as elsewhere, Ikebe’s music seems too closely related to the images that inspired it, despite his claims to the contrary. Thus it is ironic that the most satisfying work on the disc is the most conventional and accessible—the Bassoon Concerto. The bassoon’s solo role is somewhat out of character, being bright and bouncy, and seldom plumbing the instrument’s gruff depths. There’s a short episode that pays homage to The Rite of Spring and a few harsh passages towards the end, but for the most part this is a quarter-hour of sunny, lyrical song.

Ikebe’s talent as a colorist is everywhere apparent; that alone may be enough to attract 20th-century orchestral fanciers, even if these pieces don’t convey the intensity and drama of his symphonies. But maybe that’s comparing apples and oranges.

FANFARE: Art Lange
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Works on This Recording

Tanada no 1 by Shin-Ichiro Ikebe
Conductor:  Ryusuke Numajiri
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Japan Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 11 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Tanada no 2 by Shin-Ichiro Ikebe
Performer:  Dogen Kinowaki (Flute), Hideo Kikuchi (Flute), Fumiko Kai (Viola),
Noriko Miyamoto (Percussion), Satoshi Inagaki (Piano), Tomoya Kikuchi (Cello)
Conductor:  Norio Sato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Nomad
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 9 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Falling Particles of... by Shin-Ichiro Ikebe
Conductor:  Norichika Iimori
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Izumi Sinfonietta Osaka
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 13 Minutes 37 Secs. 
The Chronicle of 3776 Meters by Shin-Ichiro Ikebe
Conductor:  Masahiro Izaki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo Symphony Orchestra
Length: 14 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Concerto for Bassoon by Shin-Ichiro Ikebe
Performer:  Kazusa Mizutani (Bassoon)
Conductor:  Ryusuke Numajiri
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Japan Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 16 Minutes 11 Secs. 

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